10.04.2012 - Controlling the level of the immune factor IL-18 could prevent the development of age-related macular degeneration.
Dublin – Researchers at Trinity College Dublin have discovered that an immune factor secreted by the NLRP3 inflammosome controls the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), one of the most common forms of blindness. When the research team, headed by Sarah Doyle and Matthew Campbell, examined so-called drusen – yellow deposits in the retinas of patients and animals with AMD – they found that they expressed the two immune factors IL-1beta and IL-18 (Nature Medicine, doi:10.1038/nm.2717). Further analyses demonstrated that IL-18 was required for the disease to progress from its dry form to the wet form, where blood vessels underneath the retina begin to grow, leading to central blindness. Thus, activation of the NLRP3 inflammosome which leads to expression of IL-18 seems a promising therapeutic approach to preventing the onset of wet AMD. Dr. Campbell commented, "Traditionally, inflammation in the retina or indeed the eye in general is not beneficial and is a pathological hallmark of many eye diseases, including AMD. However, we have identified that one inflammatory component termed IL-18 acts as a so-called anti-angiogenic factor, preventing the progression of wet AMD." Dr Doyle stressed, "Our results directly suggest that controlling the levels of IL-18 in the retinas of patients with dry AMD could prevent the development of the wet form of disease, which leads us to an exciting new prospect for a novel therapy for AMD."
04.05.2016 Barcelona-based epigenetics expert Oryzon Genomics has closed a debt funding round of €10.5m, bringing the total money raised since last year to €27m. The funds will serve to advance the company’s two LSD1 inhibitors in cancer and neurodegeneration.
03.05.2016 Ipsen is strengthening its ties to long-time development partner Oncodesign, a Dijon-based cancer treatment biotech. The French pharma is handing over the pre-clinical pharmacology for its oncology research programmes to Oncodesign.
29.04.2016 Swiss bank Group UBS has raised US$471m (€412m) for the UBS Oncology Impact Fund, which was set up to invest in early-stage cancer treatments. The money raised by the fund, nearly half of which comes from investors in Asia, is the largest amount ever raised for such a cancer investment fund.
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21.04.2016 An expert panel’s final report on the fatal drug trial earlier this year in France states that the death of one of the participants was most likely caused by the drug’s toxicity and not by any violation of the rules.
21.04.2016 For up to US$685m (€606m), Dutch ArgenX has outlicensed its human antibody programme ARGX-115 to AbbVie. The pre-clinical immuno-oncology candidate targets a protein believed to contribute to immunosuppressive effects of T-cells.
19.04.2016 British drug developer Heptares Therapeutics and mAb maker Kymab Ltd have partnered up in yet another immuno-oncology collaboration. The companies plan to discover antibody meds targeting a superfamily of receptors.
15.04.2016 Not every company is put off by the current stock market climate. Swiss biopharma company GeNeuro has gone public at Euronext Paris, raising €33m in the process. Others, meanwhile, have to find different ways to raise money.
13.04.2016 Despite political disturbances, 2015 was a good year for the biotech scene in Switzerland. Net sales increased by 5.1% to CHF5,133m and 400 additional people found jobs in the sector. As usual, the new numbers were presented at the annual Swiss Biotech Day – which set new records as well.